The $100 billion sweepstakes to have the Tesla Motors “Gigafactory” power the local economy has ended, with the Nevada the overall winner and the town of Sparks the big regional beneficiary. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk joined Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) in announcing the project — and the 22,000 jobs coming with it — at the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City September 4.
Telsa and battery producer Panasonic are investing upwards of $5 billion in the lithium-ion battery production facility that will be used for the automaker’s mass-market Model 3 expected to debut after 2017. To keep to the company’s tight deadlines, Tesla needs to mobilize operations and prepare for an unprecedented scale of battery production in the Gigafactory that would bring costs to the fabled benchmark of $100 per kilowatt hour. Timeliness and the ability to launch quickly factored heavily into the automaker’s decision to bring its estimated $100 billion impact over 20 years to the Nevada economy.
Tesla’s selection of Nevada came at the expense of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and the automaker’s home state of California. According to The Washington Post, Musk had better offers than the $1.3 billion in incentives Nevada used to lure Tesla to the state, but Musk said the can-do attitude of the government and community gave Nevada the final edge in the competition.
“It’s a real get-things-done state,” Musk told the crowd of community leaders at the Capitol. According to The Associated Press, Musk highlighted the pro-business climate of Nevada as “truly the most important thing” in Tesla’s decision to take its factory there.
Gov. Sandoval echoed the enthusiasm of Musk and assured the crowd at the Nevada State Capitol they would certainly benefit.
“I know that many of you are asking yourselves the same question: ‘Is this agreement good for us?’” Gov. Sandoval acknowledged. “I can answer that today, and say emphatically, ‘Yes, this meets the test.” Sparks, an area outside of Reno, has an unemployment level well above the national average, as does the state as a whole.
The estimated 22,000 jobs includes 6,500 factory jobs at $25 per hour and another 16,000 jobs that would range from construction to support services. All told, the Gigafactory is estimated to boost the employment levels around Sparks by 10 percent, the L.A. Times reports.
Tesla has pressure to meet its production goals several years into the future in order to justify its lofty stock price. Near the close of September 5 trading, Tesla hovered near $280, just off the company’s record high.
To keep on the scheduled production pace, Musk and his team realized they would need flexibility from the local business community to avoid unforeseen delays on the assembly line. Nevada offered the can-do solution, and thus the public’s wait begins for Tesla’s next big thing: the mass-market EV that could transform the auto industry for good.